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New York Giants Mail Bag: The Offensive Line, Victor Cruz, and Contingency Plans at Fullback

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COMMENTARY | It's time for another edition of a New York Giants Reader Mailbag Q&A, featuring popular questions I get on Twitter. In this edition, the topics include the recuperating offensive linemen, Victor Cruz's contract, and more on the fullback situation.

Q: Will David Baas and Chris Snee be ready to go this season?

A: Both veteran offensive linemen are coming back from offseason surgeries and were limiting in the spring. In Snee's case, he had a troublesome hip fixed, and while he didn't participate in the football drills in the spring, he was at least seen trying to move a large dumpster to test his healing hip.

Baas? He's had "multiple surgeries," and was seen spotted with wraps around his waist and his knee during the spring minicamp. We do know that he had elbow surgery back in mid-April, but other than that, his surgeries or the exact nature of his ailments were never disclosed, nor were the timing if the surgeries and the projected rehab period for each.

Baas has been optimistic about being ready for the start of training camp, as has head coach Tom Coughlin, the latter of whom added that there might be some limitations for Baas (and Snee for that matter). But there have been other signs that leave one to wonder if Baas will indeed be ready by the start of training camp.

The most obvious one is that Baas, who was at the OTAs and the spring minicamp, did no work of any kind out on the field with the trainers. None. Why is that concerning? Usually when a player is rehabbing and if he's able to stand around for a couple of hours, he's out on the practice field doing some sort of activity under the watchful eye of a trainer.

And here's another clue that there could be concern on the Giants' part that Baas might not be ready for the start of camp. Rookie Justin Pugh revealed that he's been told by the coaching staff to be ready to play some at left guard this summer.

Why left guard? Because that's Kevin Boothe's spot. And why Boothe's spot? Because Boothe can play center.

The players have been scattered around the country during this downtime before camp, so it's possible that when the team reports on July 26 for the start of camp, Snee and Baas will be ready to go. However, it would not surprise me if Baas, who has had two injury-filled seasons as a Giant, starts the summer on PUP.

Q: Do you think Victor Cruz will sign a long-term contract before training camp?

A: That is clearly the hope, but the reality of the situation is that the Giants, at least as I write this, do not currently appear to have much in the way of cap space money to increase the reported $8M offer that's been linked to the Cruz negotiations.

Remember, the Giants will want to leave some money in reserve in the event that injuries start hitting them hard, so unless the front office restructures a current contract - Eli Manning's deal would likely make the most sense since Manning, like Cruz, is represented by agent Tom Condon.

The only way I think a long term deal is reached is if Cruz either lowers his reported asking price or if the Giants clear some cap space by redoing Manning's contract, the second scenario not being totally out of the question.

As an aside, if the two sides don't come to a long-term deal before camp, as has widely been reported, it would not be a shock if Cruz stays away from training camp until August 6, which is the deadline for players under contract to report to their clubs in order to receive an accrued season toward free agency.

Although Cruz has signed his one-year tender, the money that goes with it is not guaranteed. That means if he showed up for camp on July 26, when the team reports, absent a long-term deal, and if he suffered an injury, his negotiating value toward a long-term deal with guaranteed money all but evaporates.

If Cruz were to hold out of Giants camp, he'd be subject to a fine of $30,000 for each day he missed. Eleven days missed would be $330,000, which is likely nothing to a man who, right now, is one of the most marketable faces in sports and who took advantage of the offseason to build up his brand with what seemed like endless endorsement deals.

Q: Will the Giants pick up a true fullback while Henry Hynoski is recovering from a knee injury?

A: Although the cap money is currently tight, I don't see how the Giants can stay with what they have at this position, at least for summer camp. With all due respect to tight end Bear Pascoe, if he was a long-term answer at fullback, then why, after the 2010 season after he filled in for Madison Hedgecock the majority of that year at fullback, did the team move him back to tight end instead of leaving him at the fullback spot?

So the answer to this question is that it depends on where Hynoski is in his recovery by the time training camp starts. It would not be surprising if he starts camp on PUP. The other variables that will potentially influence what the Giants do include how long they anticipate it will be for Hynoski to return and the health of the tight ends, as if injuries hit that unit (or Pascoe for that matter), the Giants will certainly have no choice but to look at another fullback.

I think it makes sense for the Giants to add a veteran running back/fullback type, like what they did with Reuben Droughns back in 2007. If they can get a player like this, they will have a guy who can fill in until Hynoski returns, and a potential veteran third down back.

SOURCES: The New York Daily News, Asbury Park Press, The Newark Star-Ledger, ESPN New York

Have a Giants football question? Post it below in the comments or tweet it to me @Patricia_Traina, and I'll use some of the best ones in upcoming mailbags. Thanks!

Patricia Traina is a New Jersey-based, accredited sportswriter who covers the New York Giants for Inside Football. She is also a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow her on Twitter @Patricia_Traina.

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